It’s an interesting feeling, drinking a wine that’s older than you.
See, we found this bottle of port in my grandma’s basement a year or two back. A 1983 Riserva Ducal from Italy–that’s my birthyear. I took this bottle and placed in gingerly in my parents’ wine rack, saving it for some momentous occasion (my wedding, perhaps? College graduation?)
Well, in the absence of any Cabernet or Pino Grigio around the house, my parents accidentally opened it for our lunch the other day. (In their defense, they had forgotten all about that bottle being in there, and didn’t look at the date on the label.) So all week we’ve been finishing this twenty-one year old wine.
It was a little upsetting at first. But I’ve gotten to thinking–I wanted to save this wine for something. Something exciting. Why not now? Is there truly anything more momentous than being alive, here, now?
It sounds like sugar-candy pop philosophy, but hear me out. There are times we save up so much for someday. We reserve all our planning and daydreams for [blank]. When we have a boyfriend/girlfriend. Our wedding. When we have kids. Graduation. Retirement.
I’m not just talking about saving money, but about saving up life. Some people work a monotonous nine-to-five cubicle job they loathe, when they don’t have to, because they’re saving up for someday. Some people miss the romantic potential right in front of them because they’ve got their eyes on the horizon, waiting for someday. Some people put off spending time with their children because they’ll get to it someday.
Yet look at the span of your life. While I’m not going to diminish the importance of somedays, the impact of somedays in your life is going to be dwarfed by the impact of everydays. How you lived during those weekdays is as important (or more) than what you did on the weekends.
“Always his mind was to the future. To the horizon. Never his mind on WHERE HE WAS, hmm? WHAT HE WAS DOING.” –Yoda
Prudence is important. Foresight is a valuable gift. Even Yoda had to admit that one must always be mindful of the future. Yet when the future begins to run one’s life–when the evanescent and tenuous someday becomes the central point, why then the impact of your today on others is lessened.
Let me speak to my fellow Christians for a moment. Yes, we believe that because of our allegiance to Jesus we are going to heaven. But is that the point of Christianity? No. We are not called to be people who are going to heaven–we are called to be people who are currently living on the earth. To be active in the lives of neighbors and friends. To be Jesus’ hands, feet and tongue. We are called to the now.
“[The Enemy] does not want men to give the Future their hearts, to place their treasure in it. We do. His ideal is a man who, having worked all day for the good of posterity (if that is his vocation), washes his mind of the whole subject, commits the issue to Heaven, and returns at once to the patience or gratitude demanded by the moment that is passing over him…
“We want [instead] a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow’s end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the Future every real gift which is offered them in the Present.”
–Undersecretary Screwtape, via C.S. Lewis.
And so, fellow Xangans, I give to you… Now.
Our concern is now. Every good thing that we ever experience is experienced in the now. Every good thing we ever do is done in the now. Every chance to change the future started in the now.
“When does this happen in the movie?”
“Now. You’re looking at now, sir. Everything that happens now is happening now.”
“What happened to then?”
“We passed it.”
“Just now. We’re at now, now.”
“Go back to then.”
“We missed it.”
Right now I’m filling my glass with a bit of that twenty-one-year-old wine, that stuff that I wanted to save up for someday… And my friends, I’d like to make a toast. To the Present! To not putting off our lives to tomorrow. To enjoying the simple pleasures of now. To Now!
Carpe Diem, amis.